Irving Response to "Transhumanism is Religion for Atheists"

Dianne N. Irving
Copyright June 7, 2012
Reproduced with Permission

See my following response to Wesley Smith's interesting article, "Transhumanism is Religion for Atheists", on his First Things, Secondhand Smoke Blog, June 6, 2012, at I would add that yes, transhumanists do "take this stuff seriously" because a lot of the technology is being accomplished much faster than non-transhumanists might think -- regardless if it ever brings us to any "Singularity" or not. Simply try Googling for documentation.

Dr. Dianne Irving

June 7th, 2012

What is missing here is an understanding of "Gnosticism", especially ANCIENT gnosticisms, and how transhumanism, posthumanism, futurism et al are simply current expressions of these old gnostic mythologies. Too long to go into here, but might want to read my article that is 95% verbatim quoting from the article in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy on "Gnosticism" by the philosopher and world famous expert on Gnosticism, Hans Jonas: see "GNOSTICISM, the Heretical Gnostic Writings, and 'Judas'" (April 9, 2006), at: [Unfortunately in this article Jonas focuses mostly on post-Christian gnosticism, but find key words and Google for their ancient sources, e.g., Pythagoras, Heraclitus, etc.].

Gnosticisms of various kinds and tribes have been around since at least 5000 BC and the myth of Okeanus, and are all around us today (just Google "gnostic", even in the "News"!). Believe me, the students know it, although they can't always put a name or face on it. Although there are various different "myths", they do have much in common, especially their "cosmogonies" - or how the cosmos came into being - and Jonas' article does a great job of pointing out these commonalities. Understanding these myths helps to explain what transhumanists et al (at least their gurus) mean when they talk about "the Singularity".

Gnosticism is both a polytheism (many gods) and a pantheism (the cosmos is simply ONE divine being, and the planets, stars, earth, humans, etc., are simply "parts" of that one divine whole, and thus divine themselves). Essentially, originally there was only one ultimate god; the rest of the cosmos came into being because of a "rupture" within that ultimate godhead (called a "dialectic"!), when the opposites or contraries caused such "strife" that the interior of the ultimate god "overflowed" outside of him/her, and gelled beneath it in the form of a "sphere". Called "emanation", something from something, and constitutes a physical [or spiritual] continuum = pantheism. Same happened within that sphere, ultimately causing multiple spheres - which constituted the final cosmos, including Earth and all in it. Each sphere has its own god or goddess, and is autonomous and determines its own morality and laws. But these "spheres" of the cosmos constitute a BREACH of the ultimate god, and so in order to heal "reality" it is necessary to bring it all back up and fuse back into the ultimate god - called the "in-gathering of the Light". This is to say, it is "a-cosmic", or necessary to destroy the cosmos (see especially Jonas' explanation of Manichaeism). Once this is accomplished, the original breach has been healed, all is ONE again. This is also called "the singularity", the moment when all is "single" or "one" once again, but requires such destruction. Each transition of the "parts" of the cosmos back up through the spheres is part of this "in-gathering of the Light". This includes going from being "human" to being "posthuman", etc., and includes destroying what came before it in order to reach "the Singularity".

Google any of the major terms above - especially "gnostic" + "transhumanism", etc. - and you will see what Jonas was talking about. They just use the same "terms" but give different meanings/definitions - and we, especially Westerners, don't know the difference. So I'd agree with one of you who stated that one needs to know - really know - one's opponents before you can argue or deal with them. And yes, Wesley, these gnosticisms are all various pagan religions - just ancient ones that have been around for a very long time, and explained in any good History of Philosophy series (like Copleston).

Dr. Dianne Irving

Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 10:30 AM
Wesley J. Smith

Transhumanism is Religion for Atheists

The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) is one of the major transhumanist Websites. The writers there really take the nonsense of uploading minds into computers and fashioning a post humanity seriously.

I have opined often that transhumanism is a religion, that is, a rather sad (in my view) and desperate attempt to find the benefits of faith in the sterility of a purely nihilistic and materialistic world view. And now, a little more evidence supporting tht opinion. The IEET did a poll and found that most of its readers are atheists and agnostics. From, "Large Majority of IEET Readers Are Atheists/Agnostics:"

A recent survey revealed that 70.66% of IEET readers were either atheist (59.88%) or agnostic (10.78%). The remaining 29.34% religionists were divided between Christian (10.78%), Buddhist (3.59%), Muslim (3.59%), Cosmist (1.8%), Jewish (1.2%), and Mormon (1.2%). An additional 7.19% reported that they adhered to other belief systems; PanPsychism and Raelism were mentioned.

Well, Raelism is also a materialistic flying saucer religion, with the perk of open sex availability. I have never heard of "Cosmist," and as for Buddhism, some transhumanists - J. Hughes, for example - try to associate themselves with that religion. But transhumanist Buddhist is an oxymoron: Ts believe that materialism is all that there is while Bs hold that the material world is entirely an illusion.

I believe human beings are hard wired to believe. Our whole history as a species shows a yearning for TRUTH, goodness, transcendence, meaning, morality, hope, and purpose - the need for which religion provides. Having generally rejected faith and the deeper realms, transhumanists seek to fill the dark hole left in soul or psyche (take your pick) from embracing the reductionist worldview in which all that really exists are atoms and molecules that come together in novel shapes, forms, and functions.